First journeys on Hong Kong-Macau-mainland mega bridge

Hong Kong: The world’s longest sea bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China opened to traffic on Wednesday, with excited travellers making their first journeys along the bridge.
Passengers and tour groups gathered at Hong Kong’s cross-border coach terminus and bus operators gave away Chinese pastries and roasted meat to passengers.
“I wanted to try this and see if it’s convenient. I’ll be checking out the view too, after all this is a historic engineering project,” said Angie Cheng, 58, who was taking the second bus of the day out to Macau.
The 55-kilometre crossing links Hong Kong with the southern mainland city of Zhuhai and the enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.
It is the second major infrastructure project tying Hong Kong to mainland China to open within weeks — a high-speed rail link began operations last month sparking criticism Hong Kong was giving away territory with part of the terminus under mainland jurisdiction.
With a sweeping view of the ocean, mountains and rocky islets, the bridge was partly shrouded in haze on Wednesday when AFP took an early bus to Macau, but passengers still recorded the whole trip on smartphones.
Traffic was light after criticism from some legislators and residents that public access to the bridge is too limited.
Only 10,000 licences have been granted to Hong Kong residents to drive private cars to Zhuhai if they meet highly selective criteria, including holding certain mainland government positions or making major contributions to charities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Most people will need to go by bus.
Travellers go through immigration and customs points at both ends of the bridge. — AFP